1765 – The New Walled Kitchen Garden
The walled kitchen garden and its associated buildings were first commissioned by Thomas Stapleton from plans by Richard Wood in 1765 but records show this wasn’t implemented until 1773. The garden was installed as a means for Carlton Towers to grow a range of their own fruits and vegetables, both for the family at Carlton and sale at the local markets.
1801 – The Peach Trees at Carlton
The peaches at Carlton Towers were particularly sought after and their history stretches back to 1806, when a 2-year old tree was planted in the walled garden as recorded by Mr J. Seymour, Head Gardener at Carlton Towers for Miles Stapleton. He was recognised in several horticultural magazines for his invention of a mode of training Peach Trees. His ‘entirely systematic’ method became highly regarded and used by other gardeners around the country. This method was also adopted for growing nectarines.
1852 – Agricultural Accolades
Gardeners at Carlton won prizes at various agricultural and horticultural shows across the North of England, mostly for fruit, showcasing the variety being grown but also for vegetables and flowers. By this time, John Seymour had established an excellent reputation.
1915 – Duke Miles’ Memoirs
Duke Miles was born in 1915 and his memoirs of a happy childhood spent at Carlton Towers include a fond memory of the walled garden, with the back of the vinery greenhouse being the perfect place to have fun and be untidy with his brother and sisters, away from the prying eyes of their Nannies, Mother and Grandmother. In the garden, head gardener Mr Nicholls grew fruit and vegetables,
1925 – Travelling to London
The peaches at Carlton were prized for many years, as Duke Miles recalled travelling to London with his siblings to see his Mama and Papa. They were chaperoned by Mr Nicholls, who had a box of peaches wrapped in cotton wool ‘of which he took far more care of than us’, destined for Granny’s dinner party in London. Lord Gerald remembers the garden being adored by his grandmother, Mona Stapleton 11th Baroness Beaumont (pictured), who kept a wonderful little goldfish pond in the centre of the garden.
1991 – Lord Gerald and Lady Emma: A House Revived
In 1991, on a rainy November day, Lord Gerald and Lady Emma arrived at Carlton Towers with their one-month old baby boy, Arthur. They set about making Carlton Towers a warm and inviting home once more. The walled garden was eventually grassed over, becoming still for the first time in over 200 years.
2014 – It’s a Pig’s Life
Back in 2014, the walled garden was used as an enclosure for Carlton Tower’s pigs to graze. Carlton has plenty of livestock and many a relaxed hour was spent feeding the Oxford Sandy and Black pigs who lived here happily for a year or two before they were moved to the woods.
2016 – Planting the Vines
After months of tireless effort in rain or shine from Lord Gerald, Lady Emma and the team of helpers, in 2016 the first vines were finally planted. The Pinot Noir (black grape) came along first and later, in 2017, came the Auxerrois Colmar (white grape). Our plan is to blend these together and make a sparkling white wine. The skins of the Pinot Noir variety will be removed prior to fermentation, as it is the skin that gives the colour to red and rosé wines.
2018 – Looking to the Future
So, we are really at the start of our exciting journey to produce our own wine – we still have to choose a bottle and design the labels etc. but within a few years we very much look forward to sampling our first vintage, which will be called Duke Miles in homage to Lord Gerald’s father, the 17th Duke of Norfolk.